When: Fri., Dec. 18, 8 p.m. 2015
AMY BLACK'S MUSCLE SHOALS MUSIC REVUE
FRIDAY, DEC. 18
MOTORCO, DURHAM—The deep soul sounds we've come to associate with Muscle Shoals, Alabama, were a crucial part of America's 20th-century musical identity. Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, The Staple Singers and a who's who of others cut historic recordings there, alongside storied session players such as Spooner Oldham, David Hood and Barry Beckett. In recent years, interest in the town's legacy of sweetly swampy soul has spiked, thanks in large part to a documentary about music made at the legendary FAME Studios. What better time, then, for someone like Amy Black to egg on that renaissance with her Muscle Shoals Music Revue?
Black is a Boston-based singer-songwriter, but both of her parents hail from Muscle Shoals. She spent lots of time there growing up, letting the town's history inform her musical development. Not long ago, Black started cutting an EP of Muscle Shoals-associated covers; the eventual involvement of keyboard master Oldham inspired her to turn it into a full-length album. Released in June, The Muscle Shoals Sessions finds Black putting her own musical fingerprints on tunes like Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On," Otis Redding's "You Left the Water Running" and Laura Lee's "Uptight Good Man."
And with her touring Muscle Shoals Music Revue and Sarah Borges, she brings those tunes—and songs outside the R&B realm that were cut within FAME's walls by legends like The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan—back to the stage. Black certainly brings her own sensibility to the material rather than striving for an obsessively retro re-creation, but she undeniably honors the source of the sounds, too. They have, after all, played an integral role in her—and America's—musical life. 8 p.m., $12–$15, 723 Rigsbee Ave., Durham, 919-901-0875, www.motorcomusic.com. —Jim Allen